More toxic dumping seen at Carroll

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More toxic dumping seen at Carroll

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An official of the Korea Environment Corporation takes samples of water near Camp Carroll yesterday in the presence of Grand National Party lawmaker Lee In-ki, second from right, and Col. Joseph Birchmeier, assistant chief of staff of Engineer United States Forces Korea, in Chilgok, North Gyeongsang. By Kong Jung-sik


WASHINGTON - As Washington and Seoul began their first joint investigation into reports that large amounts of Agent Orange were buried at Camp Carroll in 1978, a new claim has surfaced that toxic materials were buried there years earlier.

Ku Ja-yeong, a 72-year-old former employee at Camp Carroll, told a group of Washington correspondents that he buried toxic chemicals near the base in 1972.

“In 1972, I used a bulldozer to dig 30 feet below the ground near the Bachelor Officers Quarters and an area in front of a fire station located on the base.” Ku told correspondents on Thursday, “and similar amounts of toxic materials were buried at the two sites. My American boss buried them.”

Ku said each hole was the size of a tennis court. “I wasn’t sure exactly what was being buried, but I heard my colleagues say, ‘They must be toxic chemicals left over from Vietnam.’”

Ku settled in the United States after working for 33 years as a civilian employee of Camp Carroll in Chilgok, North Gyeongsang, starting in 1968.

Ku said the site near the Bachelor Officers Quarters caught fire when soldiers were trying to flatten the earth on the buried materials.

“I kept in touch with colleagues in Camp Carroll,” he said, “but they never told me the toxic materials were moved to another site. I believe it’s highly likely they’re still buried there.

Ku also spoke about claims by three U.S. veterans, including Steve House, made in an interview with an Arizona broadcaster last week that 250 55-gallon drums of Agent Orange were buried near a site later converted to a heliport at Camp Carroll in 1978.

“I saw soldiers from the 44th Engineering Battalion digging a hole and burying something, but I can’t recall when it happened,” Ku said. “Sometime later, I saw soldiers removing the buried materials. At that time, there was no word about defoliants and we didn’t think the buried materials were harmful to humans.

“If necessary, I’m willing to go to Korea and speak the truth about what I saw and heard at that time,” Ku said.

Meanwhile, Korean and U.S. officials started their joint investigation into the suspected sites at Camp Carroll at 2 p.m. yesterday.

Korea’s Environment Ministry and National Institute of Environmental Research took groundwater samples at 10 locations outside the base in the presence of U.S. officials, according to the ministry.

Lee Ho-jung, a ministry official, said experts also took groundwater samples 100 meters away from the heliport. “The ground water samples will be analyzed and the results as to whether they contain dioxins will be available within a week,” Lee said.

The two governments will investigate sites inside the camp as soon as U.S. environment experts arrive next week.


By Kim Jung-wook, Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

“캠프 캐럴, 독극물 매립 2곳 더 있다”

33년간 군무원 근무 구자영씨

고엽제 매몰 의혹이 제기된 경북 칠곡군 왜관의 미군기지 캠프 캐럴에 지금까지 알려진 헬기장 근처 외 두 곳에 추가로 독극물을 묻었다는 새로운 증언이 나왔다.

캠프 캐럴에서 1968년부터 33년간 군무원으로 근무한 뒤 미국 버지니아주에 정착해 살고 있는 구자영(72)씨는 26일(현지시간) 워싱턴 특파원단과의 간담회에서 “72년께 캠프 캐럴 내 BOQ(독신 장교 숙소) 인근 공터와 소방서 앞 지역에 각각 깊이 30피트(9.14m) 정도로 테니스장 크기의 구덩이를 자신이 불도저를 동원해 팠으며, 그 두 곳의 구덩이에 비슷한 양의 독극물을 매몰했다”고 말했다. 그는 “상사인 미국 문관이 크레인을 이용해 직접 묻었다”며 “내용물이 정확히 무엇인지는 모르지만, 주변 동료들로부터 ‘독극물이 틀림없다. 베트남에서 쓰다 남은 것’이라는 얘기를 들었다”고 말했다.

구씨는 “당시 BOQ 인근 공터에 이들 물질을 묻었을 당시 불도저로 땅을 평평하게 고르다가 화재가 발생해 확실히 기억하고 있다”며 “지금도 그곳의 땅을 파 보면 불난 자국이 있을 것”이라고 말했다. 그는 “이후 캠프 캐럴에 있는 동료들과 연락을 취했지만 독극물을 다시 파내 다른 곳으로 옮겼다는 이야기는 듣지 못했다”며 “지금도 현장에 묻혀 있을 가능성이 크다”고 말했다. 구씨는 그러나 “드럼통 형태의 모습만 기억날 뿐 무엇이었는지는 알지 못한다”고 말했다. 구씨는 캠프 캐럴의 고엽제 매립 의혹을 처음 제기한 전 주한미군 병사 스티브 하우스 의 증언에 대해서도 언급했다. “캠프 캐럴 내 공병대대가 큰 구덩이를 만들어 물품들을 매립하는 것을 500m가량 떨어진 데서 지켜봤다”며 “ 시기는 정확하게 기억나지 않는다”고 말했다.

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